Exhausted? Some lifestyle tips to get your energy back [Part 3]

In my previous blog I went through some dietary tips to help the exhausted adrenal glands recover and in another blog I spoke about the effects that ongoing stress has on the body and how it can affect the adrenals.

Are you constantly tired? Do you not wake up feeling fully refreshed? Do you feel like you are dragging a heavy ball of lead behind you all day long? Or are you ticking lots of the questions on this questionnaire? If yes, then you might benefit from the tips below.

When clients come to me with symptoms of adrenal fatigue, they often want a quick solution to feeling better. Unfortunately there is no one magic pill to take that will restore energy levels in a few days. Recovery is possible through making small lifestyle stages one step at a time. Think about the habits developed over time that may have brought you to exhaustion. Are you constantly worrying for days and months on end about a situation in your life? Are you pushing yourself to your limits at work? Are you in the midst of a stressful life event with no support to help you through it? Are you not sleeping properly and allowing the body to regenerate over night? Are you drinking lots of caffeine and eating lots of convenience and processed foods e.g. foods high in added sugar, salt and bad fats to help give you some artificial energy to get through each day? These habits take time to undo. And it takes time for the body to heal.

You can have the best nutrition plan in the world but if you are not implementing some of the lifestyle changes below you won’t be giving your body a chance to fully heal. I’ve seen it with some of my clients who have the best diets e.g. they’ve cut out all processed foods and reduced or eliminated alcohol and caffeine. However if they are constant worriers, perfectionists and don’t have some downtime or fun times then their adrenals can’t fully heal.

Lifestyle tips to restore the exhausted adrenals

  • Lie down during work breaks – (obviously not possible for everyone but aim to do this at least at weekends)
    Brief (15-30 minute rest) at 10am and
    Brief (15-30 minute rest) between 3-5.30pm
  • Exercise three times per week for 20-30 minutes or less depending on level of fatigue. This should not be high intensity (running, aerobics) as this can put further stress on the adrenals. Exercise can include brisk walking, swimming or yoga/pilates as this sort of exercise promotes and encourages balanced adrenal glands.
  • N.B. Sleep. Regular sleep patterns are a must. It is important to go to sleep by 10.30pm every night. This is because the adrenal glands kick in for a “second wind” to keep us going from 11pm to 1am. This puts tremendous stress on the adrenals. Between 10pm and 1am the adrenals work the hardest to repair the body. Sleep in until 8.30am or 9am whenever possible.
  • have_funLaughter – very important to healing (movies, books, humorous people, etc). If you are constantly working, looking after the family, pushing yourself to achieve targets with no time for some fun, then it’s time to build in what I call “Golden days”. So take a Saturday and plan for the best Saturday you’ve had in decades and do the things that you genuinely love doing.
  • Minimise worry. Worrying makes the adrenal glands work. Relaxing and thinking peaceful thoughts enables them to rest and heal. That’s why yoga and meditation are so good for you. Try not to worry about things over which you have no control. It’s the amount of worry and not necessarily the size of the problem that stresses your adrenal glands. If you worry a lot about little problems, you do as much damage to your adrenal glands as someone who really has a lot of stress. If you can control your worrying when under stress, you minimise the damage stress does to your health. A wise man once said that worry is interest paid in advance on money you haven’t even borrowed yet.
  • Do not get out of bed in the morning until you think of something pleasant – affirmations great to say first thing.
  • Daily break for enjoyment
  • Build in relaxation as part of your day for a minimum of 15 minutes – e.g. reading, bathing with lavender oil & Epsom salts, listening to music, massage.
  • take a deep breathBreathing exercises – do before eating and in times of stress. Check out Dr Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise
  • Locate the “energy robbers” in your life. It can be anything from a food to a perfume, an activity, a nagging memory, a co-worker or a spouse, a building, a room, a situation.
  • Seek some counselling to help deal with or relieve stressors
  • Try Yoga, meditation, prayer, Tai Chi
  • Use reframing techniques to shift your framework
  • Do relaxation response exercises regularly
  • Keep a gratitude journal

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Time to spring clean your body

detox, healthy eating, spring clean

Spring clean your body

Horray! it’s now officially spring time and we can start saying goodbye to those dark evenings. Here in Wicklow we’re having a wet start to the season with lots of rain and grey skies but don’t let that dampen your spirits. It’s now time to come out of winter hibernation mode and welcome the spring. Our bodies tend to get sluggish during the winter months, we spend less time moving and tend to opt for those comfort foods. So now is the time to spring into action! You might be thinking of spring cleaning the house but why not also stop and think about some ways to help spring clean your body.

Why the need?
We need to give our liver a good boost. Our liver is the largest organ in the body and it works hard performing over 500 metabolic functions. Some of these include the following: produces and excretes bile to help emulsify and absorb fats, filters the blood, helps regulate blood glucose levels, breaksdown protein, it makes cholesterol and helps breakdown fatty acids to produce energy, breaksdown toxins, activates Vitamin D, produces heat (the main heat producing organ of the body), stores glucose in the form of glycogen, and it stores vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K, iron and copper.
Signs that you might need some liver support
Change in texture of your hair, skin conditions (rashes, eczema or psoriasis), headaches, nausea, sensitivity to chemicals, perfumes or tobacco smoke, hangovers easily from alcohol, strong reaction to caffeine.

Top tips for your spring clean
1. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water (herbal teas count) a day and aim for more if doing strenuous exercise. It’s amazing the difference this simple change can make. I’ve had clients report that their energy levels improve and aches and pain start to ease when this simple change is made.

2. Reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. The maximum amount of added sugar a day recommended by the World Health Organisation that we should be consuming is a max of 6 teaspoons i.e. 24g. 4g = 1 tsp. It’s worth getting into the habit of reading food labels and buying wholefoods. Sugar is a toxin and artificial sweeteners are even worse. They both trigger the release of insulin which in turn stores fat. Sugar also feeds our bad gut bacteria which can lead to lots of digestive problems e.g. bloating, irregular bowel movements, acid reflux. Why not swap your usual chocolate treat for 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate or a healthy chocolate mousse – my go to favourite (blend ½ avocado with ½ banana and 2 tsps of raw cacao powder, squeeze of lemon juice) or 1 or 2 stewed apples with cinnamon.

3. Cut down on the caffeine especially if you have symptoms like acid reflux, feel jittery, have problems sleeping or have gastritis. Caffeine is filtered and detoxified through the glutathione pathway in the liver. This pathway depends on food sources like onions, garlic, root vegetables to boost glutathione levels.

4. Increase your fibre as it’s great for bowel health. It’s important that you are having at least one bowel movement every day, otherwise toxins will re-circulate in your body and you’ll start to have symptoms of ill health (e.g. tired, headaches, irritable, itchy skin). Increasing fibre also helps with pumping fats and cholesterol out through the bowels.

5. Specific therapeutic nutrients that help boost and support liver function include: milk thistle (has silymarin which boosts detoxification by preventing glutathione from depleting), N-acetyl cysteine (glutathione is made in the body from NAC), artichoke extract, dandelion root (take as a tea), B vitamins (increase cellular energy enough to kick start change), aloe vera (natural laxative and calms inflammation). I usually recommend taking one of these nutrients for 4 weeks only and stop. Then rotate to a different nutrient next time you feel you need a boost and review what works best for you.

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